We are officially locked out. The Dallas Mavericks are NBA Champions. Cho was fired. On draft day we traded for Raymond Felton. We also drafted Nolan Smith & Jon Diebler. I wonder to myself what the Trail Blazers management's post-lockout game plan consists of? They completely ignored the need of big man depth in the draft. We are going to either A) land a big man in free agency, a Chuck Hayes or Kenyon Martin perhaps. B) Acquire a defensive center in a mid season trade, like Emeka Okefor or Marcin Gortat. Or C) Barely limp into the playoffs on the back of a burnt out Aldridge & get knocked out in the first round, again.
PG: Raymond Felton(16.68PER on 32.7mpg)/Patty(13PER on 12.2mpg)/Armon Johnson(9.3PER on 7.3mpg)/Nolan Smith(Draft Pick) - I love Miller & what he bought to the team, he was one of the big reasons we didn't explode when Roy went down. However last time I discussed the PG siutation I said "If at all possible keep him to mentor a young player, but we can't be afraid to give him up for a quality young point guard" We landed Raymond Felton who fits the bill. He is still 27 years old & is a solid NBA starter. His experience playing with Gerald Wallace should help him mesh with the team. If Felton doesn't fit with Nate, he can be moved at the deadline(you know what happens when Paul knows the fit isn't right, eh Mr. Cho?). Since we drafted Nolan Smith, Armon Johnson's training camp should be a sink or swim type of situation for him. I expect Smith or Johnson to take Patty's minutes.
SG: Wesley Matthews(15.6PER on 33.6mpg)/Roy(13.94PER on 28mpg)/Elliot Williams(N/A)/Diebler(Draft pick) -Wesley is young, a good player with a good contract, only way you move him is if you can land a Andre Iguodola or Rajon Rondo type of talent. Roy at best becomes a Mariano Rivera type of closer for the Blazers, 25mpg late game assassin. For that to happen we need someone else besides LA to contribute points in the paint & bigs who set meaner picks to create space. Roy's status on this team hinges on whether an amnesty provision is written into the new CBA. Rudy has been traded, so the #3 shooting guard spot is up for grabs(it might not sound like a need but with Roy's questionable health, I think it would be smart to have an "insurance policy" there). Elliot Williams is an unknown commodity coming off two surgeries in his rookie season. As I said before "The Rudy experiment has failed, time to move on & find a shooter who can shoot.". Buchanan did just that in drafting Jon Diebler from Ohio state, however the problem is that is all he can do.
SF: Gerald Wallace(16.3PER on 35mpg)/Nicolas Batum(14.85PER on 31mpg)/Luke Babbitt(1.02PER on 5mpg..) - One of the best SF duo's in the NBA. Batum looks less comfortable off the bench. Hopefully Wallace rubs off on him. Speaking of Gerald, next year, besides Durant what other small forward is going to be an All Star? Wallace could be that guy. The list of players I would consider giving up Batum for is short, like Wes$. Babbitt doesn't even look like an NBA player in the small sample size we have saw.
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge(21.57PER on 39.6mpg-Too Much)/Chris Johnson(10.19PER on 10mpg) - Aldridge is our franchise player & stepped up huge for us last year. But we can't afford another year of him being exhausted in the playoffs. Must find big bodies to keep him on 4's & Gerald Wallace on 3's. I love Chris Johnson & the energy he brought. I hope we keep him on the team to play spot minutes but he will be best as part of a rotation, not the second big man coming off the bench. We ignored that need in the draft, lets hope we can land a key free agent, Chuck Hayes
C: Marcus Camby(14.85PER on 26mpg)/Greg Oden*(DNP)- Camby. Love his veteran presence on this team. However, he should not be forced to start another season at center. He will do best when he doesn't have to worry about fouling out because he is the only player who can defend the paint, as part of a big man rotation. However like I said with Dre, if you can move him for a younger center - we can't be afraid to pull the trigger. *If we resign Oden, I'll support him just like any other player. He just needs to be healthy, he averaged 23.14PER on 24mpg in the 2009-2010 regular season. However if you could get another team to jump on his upside, while sending a healthy quality player Portland's way, you have to weigh that possibility. Some options might be Emeka Okefor, Marcin Gortat or Roy Hibbert, if you can't land one of them I think Anderson Varejao could play next to Aldridge.
Coach: Nate McMillan(Career totals 458 Wins - 429 Losses. 14 Wins - 20 Losses in the playoffs) - He has done an admirable job overcoming injuries. Sarge may be lacking with his SOS pressure defensive schemes, but he really has never had the opportunity to coach a dominant defensive center either. A must of any successful NBA playoff team. I say we stick with McMillan unless a clear upgrade is available & willing to coach for Portland.
Free Agency Prospects:
Tyson Chandler - C(18.5PER on 28mpg) Probably will resign with Dallas but this guy showed us Marcus Camby would be much better as a part of a big man rotation, rather then the only big man coming off the bench. Chandler is still young, plays tough & as an added bonus would have no problem coming to a team that relies heavily on alley oops.
Kris Humphries - PF(17.9PER on 28mpg) The Nets will match any offer as they have bird rights. Excellent rebounder, perfect role player. Would lure Kim Kardashian to the rose garden. Nuff said.
Chuck Hayes - C(16PER on 28mpg) The definition of scrappy. You have to be if you want to play center in the NBA at 6'6".
Leon Powe - PF(15PER on 11mpg) A season removed from his knee injury he could be ready to return to being an impact role player in the NBA next season.
Carly Landry - PF(14.9PER on 26mpg) I don't think the Hornets have bird rights on him. That means unless a team under the cap wants to go and sign Carl Landry, he will be choosing which team to take the MLE from. I'd expect him to go home & play for the Bucks if that was the case.
Kenyon Martin - PF(14.2PER on 26mpg) I know, I know. He is a head case but he would add toughness. We definitely could have used him against Dallas. He scores efficiently. Its pretty obvious he doesn't fit into Denver's long term plans. He is good friends with both Marcus Camby & Andre Miller. Could be a darkhorse MLE option for us this offseason.
Samuel Dalembert - C(14.1PER on 25mpg) I am expecting him to sign with the NY Knicks or Miami Heat this offseason. However his game fits our needs perfectly. Showed the last couple of months of the season he can still be one of the best at defending the paint, pulling down rebounds & getting efficient buckets down low.
Jeff Foster - C(14PER on 17mpg)Thought he was finished for his career because of injuries, but looked decent against the Chicago Bulls in their playoff series.
Kwame Brown - C(13PER on 26mpg) Quietly having a resurgent season.
Reggie Evans - PF(12.4PER on 26mpg) A true banger. Experience with McMillan. Would keep Wallace off of PF's. Sets nasty screens.
Alexis Ajinca - C(12PER on 10mpg) Can't teach height. A young raw project.
Luc Ricard MBah A Moute - PF(11.5PER on 26mpg) A decent, young NBA role player. Limited upside, but plays hard.
Joel Przybilla - C(6.2PER on 14mpg) Sign him for the BAE. He wants to come back, we want him back. Will definitely look better next year after an offseason of recovery.
Jason Richardson - SG(15PER on 34mpg) Not the same player since leaving Steve Nash like a lot of players. Good 3pt shooter. Not sure he fits with the Blazers.
Jamal Crawford - SG(14.3PER on 30mpg) Has been outstanding in the playoffs. Likely won't take the MLE & with his performance as of late I think Atlanta may show him the money.
Grant Hill - SF(14.8PER on 30mpg) Not really room for him as the roster is presently constructed. Has found the fountain of youth in Phoenix. If anything bring him to show our training staff how they do things in Arizona.
Reggie Williams - SG/SF(15PER on 20mpg) Excellent 3pt shooter & scorer. Worked his way into the NBA, through france & the d-league. Would be a great MLE pickup with the uncertainty of Roy/Rudy's future.
Shane Battier - SF(12.4PER on 29mpg) If he takes the MLE, why not just stay in Memphis who is looking good in the playoffs?
Gary Forbes - SF(11.7PER on 13mpg) You have likely not heard of him before. There were multiple instances this year when he was forced to play & he looked like a good NBA player. Sleeper FA pick up.
Michael Redd - SG(9.7PER on 13mpg) Career has been derailed by injuries so not really a fit in rip city but when healthy he is one of the best from deep. I bet he signs with Miami for the minimum.
Rodney Stuckey - PG/SG(18.5PER on 31mpg) Good for 15ppg, 5apg & 3rpg, only 25 years old. Likely will get more then the MLE from Detroit.
Earl Boykins - PG(17.6PER on 15mpg) He showed me that he can still play in the NBA & run a team with success. Would be a nice quick veteran waterbug PG to compliment Andre. Still a defensive liability, but he would be better then Patty & TJ Ford!
JJ Barea - PG(14.8PER on 20mpg) Lightning fast. Annoying player to face up against for any defense. Pesky in ways we know all too well about.
Aaron Brooks - PG(13.2PER on 22mpg) A down year after winning most improved player. Deadly 3pt shooter. The question is his price, the Suns are probably more willing to let go of Nash & build around Brooks. Sign & trade required most likely because I doubt he takes the MLE.
Goran Dragic - PG(13.2PER on 22mpg) I don't like Dragic & McMillan as a PGOTF fit going forward. Conflicting styles.
Pooh Jeter - PG(11.1PER in 14mpg) You know you want to see Patty VS Pooh in training camp.
Mario Chalmers - PG(10.3PER on 22mpg) Heat can go over the cap to sign him thanks to bird rights. I expect him to stay in south beach, even though he had an off season.
Earl Watson - PG(10.2PER on 20mpg) Veteran. Not Patty.
TJ Ford - PG(9.9 in 19mpg) He was mentioned as being a player who the Blazers were interested in after we acquired Gerald Wallace. He is terrible. Might as well sign..
Steve Nash - PG(20.8PER on 33mpg) The trade for Felton all but finally kills the Nash to Portland rumors.
Nene - C(20.5PER on 30mpg) There has already been rumors drummed up this offseason, that Portland would be interested in a center like Nene. Duh. He would be an awesome addition to the team the question is the price.
Stephen Curry - PG(19.5PER on 33mpg) Good up & coming point guard. Great on offense who would be an ideal PGOTF to add to a core of Aldridge & Matthews. Golden State would start by asking for Batum, I'd do it - some Blazer fans are reluctant to do so. Perhaps a Felton/Batum package?..
Ramon Sessions - PG(19PER on 26mpg) He is essentially Andre Miller Jr, in a good way. If the Cavs go after Kyrie Irving, Sessions could be on the block.
Mickael Pietrus - SG/SF(10PER on 20mpg) Accepted his player option. Has looked terrible since leaving Orlando. Good defender & 3pt shooter, would be a perfect Rudy replacement.
Ryan Anderson - PF(19PER on 22mpg) 39% from 3, 5.5 rebounds per game. Solid role player.
Marcin Gortat - C(18PER on 25mpg) Efficient. Produces a solid 10ppg, 8rpg & 1bpg in only 25 minutes per game ! Had experience of guarding Dwight Howard every day in practice for multiple seasons.
Greg Monroe - PF/C(18PER on 28mpg) One of my favorite young big men prospects in the NBA. Excellent passer, would be a great compliment to Aldridge. Likely untouchable, but you have to wonder.
Rajon Rondo - PG(17.1PER on 37mpg) Would be tough to get Danny Ainge to even think of moving his one young player who is actually producing. I would be willing to let go of any player not named LaMarcus Aldridge. Including sending them Raymond Felton, Nicolas Batum & Wesley Matthews. Batum/Matthews will eventually succeed Pierce/Allen.
Raymond Felton - PG(16.7PER on 36mpg) Before we landed him I said "Looked his best when he was playing in D'Antoni's up tempo system. Hit a high % of 3's during his time in Denver. He is young, fairly paid & a good point guard. Have to wonder what Denver asks for him.". What you think of this deal largely depends on how much longer you think Andre Miller can keep up his level of play. We got younger at a good price in my opinion.
Emeka Okefor - C(16PER on 32mpg) Solid reliable veteran center who still has some quality years left at 28 years old. Still averages about a double-double & 2 blocks a game. Would round a starting 5 of Felton/Matthews/Wallace/Aldridge/Okefor. Thats a good unit, all around the same age, they could actually have a chance to "gel"(Felton, Wallace & Okefor all played with each other for multiple seasons with the Bobcats). The bench still would need work though.
Roy Hibbert - C(16PER on 28mpg) 7'2". Productive. Healthy. Trained with Bill Walton on his post game. Nuff said.
Brandon Bass - PF(16PER on 26mpg) Averages 11/5 in 25 minutes. Would be a nice backup to LaMarcus Aldridge but he seems a bit like Aldridge lite, not the banger or defender we are looking for.
Jrue Holiday - PG(15.5PER on 35mpg) His size, length, commitment to playing defense & overall production at a young age(20!) have drawn comparisons to Gary Payton. Which says all you need to know as to why I want him on this team. Similar to Rondo, I'd give up anyone not name LaMarcus.
Robin Lopez - C(14PER on 15mpg) Perhaps the odd man out of the Suns Center Trio? Young, 7 footer. His twin brother can clearly play but he hasn't fit with the coaching staff or the style of play. Again, whats the price? We need big men.
Channing Frye - C(13PER on 33mpg) The buffet of goodness. He loves Portland. I wonder if he could reproduce the numbers he is putting up in Phoenix for Nate McMillan if he came back? If he did, him & Aldridge would make a nice tandem with his ability to clear out to the 3 point line. Have to wonder what Phoenix would ask for him.
Ben Wallace - C(12.3PER on 23mpg) I think its
Cho's Buchanan's duty to talk to Wallace's agent and ask him if he is done for good or not. Because if not I can't see him staying another season in Detroit. I know he wouldn't have took any noise from Chandler.He's a thick body & former defensive player of the year.
Hassan Whiteside - C(N/A) So he apparently doesn't take to coaching well, or something along those lines. With them looking to build around Cousins & Thompson down low, where does Whiteside fit? Send him to Portland, Sarge specifically. Sink or swim young man.
OJ Mayo - SG(12.7PER on 26mpg) Memphis tried to offload him before the deadline. If he is still available we could have the pieces to land him. He is a deadly 3 pt shooter. Has been said that he wants to spend some time at point guard, he could be a good Rudy/Eventually Roy replacement.
Christian Eyenga - SG(9PER on 21mpg) Had a trial by fire year in Cleveland. Has a young Mickael Pietrus type of pure raw athleticism & strength. Does a good job of using that defensively. A project type of player.
Baron Davis(17PER on 28mpg)/Antawn Jamison(16.9PER on 33mpg)/Anderson Varejao(15.2PER on 32mpg) They have 3 big contracts that don't fit at all into their future plans. I personally would like to see Daniel Gibson in a Blazers uniform simply because of his shooting from deep. Their "Big 3" of expiring contracts don't do them much good as its not exactly enticing for a FA to come to Cleveland, Varejao would be a good fit next to Aldridge, while Jamison would give us another player who can actually get buckets in the post. Boom Dizzle just isn't worth it.
Feel free to post your trade ideas & which free agents you would sign I Hope you enjoy round 2. One love.